Vehicle Inspections

From Liability to Cargo, we keep you covered

Trucking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. As part of those regulations, vehicle inspections are required for every trip. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration is responsible for conducting roadside inspections. They may be done randomly, or they may be done because someone on the road has observed a problem.

A trucking company must keep a record of every pre-trip and post-trip inspection. When a trucking company has its New Entrant Audit, the auditor will review its record. If they find anything amiss, they may issue you a fine. In severe cases, they can even shut your business down. Simplex Group keeps your records for you and ensures you are compliant with Department of Transportation regulations at all times. With over 20 years of experience in the trucking industry, we know what inspectors look for.

What the Law Says

Federal law requires truck drivers to inspect their trucks daily. If an issue is found, repairs must be done and documented before the truck goes anywhere. A driver must make sure that all the equipment on each power component of the truck is working properly before they hit the road. An inspection takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

Most trucking companies nowadays record inspections using their Electronic Tracking Device; the same device used to record hours. We store your records for you electronically for the required three months after you perform them. The inspection must evaluate the following:

  • Emergency equipment
  • Tires, wheels, and rims
  • Steering
  • Reflectors, lighting devices, and rearview mirrors 
  • Coupling devices
Photo of a man checking permit


The inspection must include the air, parking, and service brakes. The truck’s brakes must meet specific standards.

You must make sure that the truck’s air brakes are between 100 and 120 psi. You must make sure that the brakes stabilize properly, and you must pump on the break until the warning light comes on. 

If there is anything wrong with the brakes, you must write a detailed description. The driver is required to sign the report. Every time you make a vehicle report of any kind—whether it is for repair or something else—you must include the license plate number and VIN of the vehicle. It must also have your DOT number and the time and date that the inspection was done.

If there is something wrong with the intermodal equipment, the driver must report that as well. They must put the ID number of the equipment on the report.

You must then have the repair done before the vehicle can be driven again. Mechanics will make their own reports and sign them. When the driver’s truck is returned to them, the driver must re-inspect the truck and sign off on it.

We ensure that the record of the repair is stored for three months as well.

Roadside Inspections

Roadside Inspections, according to the FMCSA, are “examinations of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and/or drivers by Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Inspectors.”

Daily inspections are important because they protect the safety of drivers as well as the safety of the general public. They are also important because a truck may be pulled over for a roadside inspection at any point. If a truck fails a roadside inspection, you may be subject to fines and additional audits. Both the driver and the vehicle may be put on an out-of-service order. You will not be able to have this order removed until you correct the problem. 

Inspections may be conducted at a variety of locations, such as weigh stations, border checkpoints, bus terminals, a carrier’s terminal, or when a law enforcement official stops a CMV.

Drivers are notified when a weigh station is open and all CMV must enter the weigh station.

8 Levels of Inspections

Everything in the trucking industry is complicated, and roadside inspections are no exception. There are no less than eight different levels of inspections. Fortunately, Simplex Group knows exactly what to expect when it comes to roadside inspections. We do everything we can to ensure you are prepared for every level.

Level 1

Level 1 inspections are quite detailed and considered the most comprehensive level of DOT roadside inspection. Inspectors check a driver’s CDL, Hours of Service records, medical examiner certificate, possible drug and alcohol usage, seatbelt usage, and RODS compliance.  It is like a miniature audit.

They inspect the vehicle for everything that should be checked during a daily inspection. If your vehicle is carrying hazardous material, the inspector may check to see that you are compliant with all safety rules.

Level 2

A level 2 inspection known as a walk-around generally involves looking at the driver’s CDL, HOS records, medical examiner certificate, seat belt usage, and alcohol and drugs usage just as in the Level 1 inspection. However, they inspect the vehicle, but they do not get under it. 

Level 3

A level 3 inspection entails looking up the driver’s records. The inspector reviews the driver’s CLD, medical examiner certificate, seat belt usage, and alcohol and drugs usage just as in the Level 1 inspection. They make sure their HOS reports are up to date as well as their daily inspection report.

Level 4

A level 4 inspection is normally done as part of a DOT study. They usually look at only one component of a truck during this inspection.

Level 5

Level 5 Inspections are thorough inspections of the vehicle. They will not review the driver’s records.

Level 6

Level 6 inspections are for radioactive shipments only. An inspector will ensure that a driver is compliant with safety regulations on these types of materials.

Level 7

You will never have to worry about a level 7 inspection if you are a trucker. This type of inspection is only done for taxis, buses, and other vehicles used for transporting people.

Level 8

Level 8 inspections are done while a driver is traveling down the road. It is done electronically and reviews the driver’s CLD, driving record, drug testing record, and medical record.

Let Us Help

Simplex Group can help you with roadside inspections and every other element of trucking industry compliance. Call us today.